Upcoming Events At Plants For A Future Spring/Summer 2023

1) One Day Chakra Retreat at Plants for A Future, with Kaya Marklund

    Saturday 13th May 10.30am – 7pm

   For more info please see attachment

   To book, please phone 07498527611 or email [email protected]

2) 3 Day course on  Active Hope and Permaculture with Klaudia Van Gool and Addy Fern

    13th-16th July 2023

Active Hope is a process designed by Joanna Macey, to help us to face our difficult emotions connected with the destruction of the Natural Environment – or anything else! Active Hope has its roots in connecting with the Natural World, and in Buddhism.

For more info, and to book, please go to klaudia.co.uk

On her website, go to “Workshops and Training”, then “All Courses”. Scroll down until you see Active Hope and Permaculture.

3) Nine-day Chakra Retreat with Kaya Marklund. Addy Fern will be teaching some morning yoga

  12th – 20th August 2023

  More details to follow – or contact Kaya – see above.

4) Various Guided Tours of Plants For A Future

Various dates available – which I am in the process of sorting out!

 I will be giving various tours as crowd-funder rewards for Claire Wallenstein at Cornwall Climate care to enable her to fund her current film “Hungry for Change” – which also features us!  Contact me at [email protected] to book a tour

The Planned dates for Claire are Sunday May 7th, Sunday June 18th, Sunday July 9th and Sunday August 27th. Some of these may change.

A tour is an interesting walk around the land looking at and tasting (where appropriate) the many edible, medicinal, and other useful plants growing on the Land. We will look at perennial salads; fruits, including many unusual and intriguing fruits and superfood berries that people can grow themselves; nuts and root crops. The tour also looks at how we can grow food more efficiently and with less effort. And we consider ways we can grow our food more in harmony with Nature, rather than just fighting against it all the time, and why this is so important for our own survival on this Planet.

Wildlife In The Pond, Frogs Spawning

The main pond on the land is not large, but provides a great habitat for many species.

I placed the trail camera to observe the pond in mid February, after the frogs started spawning, this is some of the footage captured.

Many frogs making quite the noise in the dark.

Unfortunately for the frogs, this many amphibians in one place is a great opportunity for predators.

Very photogenic Heron.

An owl was spotted, it swoops down straight on a frog, then becomes a little self conscious with the camera, and flies off with it’s prize.

Silent but deadly.

Not just birds, rats can also be seen sneaking up and grabbing a frog.

Surprise! Keep your eye on the left.

It’s rather dangerous being a frog, especially right now, but fortunately they have layed a rather ridiculous amount of spawn, and their future is pretty secure.

There are more videos on the wildlife YouTube Channel, consider subscribing.

Veganic Gardeners Question Time (VGQT) 21st January

Veganic Gardeners Question Time, Hosted by VON

Horticultural expert Ellen-Mary will host an entertaining evening with twenty-four carrot advice from Forest Gardener Addy Fern, Farmstart Co-ordinator Helen Dodd and Wildlife film maker Piers Warren.

Thursday 21st January 7pm UK Time Zone 45 minutes

Streaming Live on Facebook and YouTube. Links to be announced one week before the event.

Please send your questions to: [email protected]

Full Info:

Events Update

We have decided to cancel the Wild Camping Weekend this year due to the delay in upgrading our facilities caused by the coronavirus lockdown.

We hope that various courses will be available next year.

If you are still interested in visiting this year, we are still open for volunteers and tours (all by appointment only please.)

If you are interested, please email [email protected], or phone 01208 873554.

Many Thanks for your patience.

Wild Camping Weekend

We have decided to cancel the Wild Camping Weekend this year due to the delay in upgrading our facilities caused by the lockdown… more

Friday 28th – Monday 31st August 2020.
Cost £90. Concessions available.

This event will be a relaxed visit to Plants for a Future. It will include

  • A comprehensive guided tour of the Land looking at many of the useful plants, and tasting them where appropriate
  • Learn-by-doing sessions, where you will help with work on the land and learn more about the useful and less useful plants (i.e. weeds – which still have their uses!) in the process
  • Optional outdoor yoga
  • A walk down to the local creek where people can learn about some of the local wild foods, and also have a swim if they wish
  • Sitting round a fire one evening to share stories, songs, poems, etc.

Most of the meals will be communally prepared, and people will take turns to help prepare food. Breakfast will be self service.

We will provide fruit and perennial greens from the Land, and basic wholefood including oats, rice, lentils, buckwheat, soya flour, soya milk and oil. You are welcome to also bring a contribution of food if you wish, or if you require anything fancy. VEGAN FOOD ONLY, please.

People also have the option of staying on longer if they wish, either

  • as a wild camping holiday, with minimal input from me, at £10 per person per night. There are many beautiful places to explore in the area – woodlands with tidal creeks, coastal paths, beaches, etc. (You will need to bring and prepare your own food.)
  • or as a volunteer, and work with me, free of charge. (See info about volunteering for more details.)
  • or some hybrid between the two.

Please note that, despite ongoing improvements, facilities on the Land are still quite basic. We have a shed with electric lights, electric cooker, internet, a nice clean carpeted area, and a sink; but we have no showers. (You can use the cold water hose in the polytunnel, or go for a swim in the nearby creek.) We have a compost toilet (but no flush toilet).

What to bring:

  • Your own tent and bedding
  • Comfortable clothing
  • Waterproof clothing
  • Wellington boots/walking boots
  • Sun hat
  • A good torch
  • Notepad and pen or pencil
  • Swimming costume and towel
  • Yoga mat (though a camping mat will do)

Please arrive after 3pm on Friday 28 August 2020. (Earlier arrivals by prior arrangement only.)

Finish after lunch on Monday 31 August 2020

Ripening Fruits

I posted a short article in early December on how the fruits on our evergreen Elaeagnus species were developing earlier than usual. The mainly mild weather we have experienced since then has seen this ripening come on apace and we now have many fruits colouring up – and it is only the middle of January. We would not usually expect fruits at this stage of development until the middle of March, with the first fruits coming ripe in April.

Fruits ripening in the middle of January

The forecast is for rather colder weather in the coming weeks, so it will be interesting to see how the fruits fare. I’ll try and remember to keep people up to date.

Thinking of fresh fruits for difficult times of the year brings the Barberries and Mahonias to mind. Whilst not often thought of as food plants, between them they can supply fresh, very nutritious berries for almost 8 months of the year. These two genera of ornamental plants are increasingly being treated by botanists as a single genus united under Barberry and, whilst the two groups are very different from a gardener’s point of view, they do have very similar flowers and fruits.

We harvested our last fruits of the year in December (from Berberis aggregata and Berberis wilsonae). They have a somewhat acid flavour (think lemon and use a little imagination) and are rather seedy, but can be used to add a sharp flavour to fruit juices and some cooked foods. They can also be eaten raw – children generally like them more than adults.

Ripe fruits in December
Close-up of the fruit in December

By early May we should be looking towards our Mahonia species for some fresh fruits. These evergreen plants produce a lovely display of scented yellow flowers in the autumn and early winter that draw in masses of bees and give them a late bonanza of nectar. The fruits are just beginning to develop now and I will watch their progress with interest.

Developing fruits in the middle of January
Close-up of the developing fruit

All the species in the genus produce more or less edible fruits – though it is definitely less for many of the species. However, there are also a number with decidedly edible and health-promoting fruits that come ripe through the summer and autumn. In particular, the S. American evergreen species come to mind, including B. darwinii, B. empetrifolia (which is a cultivated fruit crop in Chile) and B. microphylla. When I get time, I might well write an article listing the best of these species

The Turning of the Seasons

Even in temperate climates, such as on our land in Cornwall, it is possible to provide fresh fruit all year round. Common fruits such as apples, for example, can be harvested in the autumn and, with the right varieties, can be stored until the following summer.

We do not focus just on these more common fruits, however. We can usually pick at least small amounts of fresh fruit in virtually every month of the year.

Actinidia Deliciosa(Kiwi) FruitAs we move into winter so our fruit harvesting for this year is drawing to a close. We have yet to pick the last of the apples and still have to find time for the kiwi fruits (a very heavy crop this year, which will ripen fully in store over the next few month) and will hopefully be picking Hippophae fruits until early February.

Hippophae salicifolia fruit

The seasons run in circles though, and even as this year draws to its close we can already see the first signs of next year’s fruit harvest.

Elaeagnus x Ebbingei fruit

Our evergreen Elaeagnus species flower in the autumn and then slowly develop their fruit over the winter ready for us to harvest in the spring. This year, possibly as a result of the hot summer (oh, pleasant memories!) the potential crop is looking better than I can ever remember. With luck, by the end of March, we will be eating these fruits and their edible seeds.



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